flock fatigue (me)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TeamChaos, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    warning- this is pretty much me whining about chicken life and I'm doing it here because, well, there's a better chance that someone will get me here than in my real life.

    I've had my chickens for a about 10 months now- had the first death today. Opened the coop door and there was Annie Oakley, dead on the floor. No obvious sign of trauma; although I had been nursing her in isolation about two weeks ago, she felt good enough after three days to rejoin the flock. At least she had been doing fun chicken things and not crying pitifully in solitary before she died.
    Anyway, it's a rainy, cold day here and all of my other chickens looked miserable. Wet and muddy. Occasional sneezes. One of my roosters had white stuff on his comb, might be dried yogurt from yesterday but I was afraid it might be fungus, so I sprayed it with blu-kote to be safe.
    The run is a mud bath, the coop is coated in grey dust and I'm afraid it's red mites and I have no idea how I'd ever spray every crevice in the trailer to clear them out and I know winter is on it's way....
    The two boys I kept from the "packing peanut" males are always wheezy and sneezy and I'm wondering if they are just going to keep getting the girls sick despite the antibiotics and sanitation measures I've taken.
    Do the questions ever go away? Do you ever know you're doing it right? I feel like there is always some health or environmental concern in my chicken keeping.

  2. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    im sorry you loss your first chicken. [​IMG]. its getting cold here in ct too, been using the heat lamp in the coop for a few weeks now. i want to make every animal i own comfortable. sometimes thats our nature. it sounds like your doing fine in regards to checking and cleaning, sanitizing your pets. hard to say whats getting the animals you have a bit under the weather. do what you normally do, and do it your best, thats all you can do. good luck. hope tommorrow the sun shines at your house! [​IMG]
  3. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Songster

    Jul 3, 2009
    I feel for you. Since the end of August we had one chicken or another under the weather. I finally had one put down last week and ON THE WAY HOME my husband called and said the neighbors dog had attacked. It does seem kind of overwhelming doesn't it. I am beginning to learn that I am just going to have to let it go sometimes. Not treat or worry about every sneeze and if something does happen, like an attack have a plan in place to deal with it.

    I'm not sure what you mean by gray dust. I know I spent about 2 hours in the coop today doing some cleaning because it has been hmm....awhile....since I've done a good cleaning. It was very very very dusty. I don't know anything about red mites. But you've given me something new to worry about...THANKS!!![​IMG]

    It may be too late for this season but 3-4 inches of sand in your run will make ALL the difference. You need to do it, If you have a truck and can haul it from the gravel yard it is way cheap. We had it delivered and it was 13.00 a ton or something. WAY WORTH IT> There are sand calculators all over the place. Here on BYC too.

    I would consider rehoming, culling, or having someone process your two sickly roos. Craig's list can help you there.

    Medicating, especially with antibiotics, without a firm diagnosis can cause more problems than it cures.

    With the roo with white on his comb I would probably have waited. A vet told me that blue kote is pretty nasty stuff but it probably won't hurt him and if it is some kind of fungus you caught it early.

    I am going to get a heater for the coop. It was cold in there today and it is going to get much much colder before the winter is over. May hike the electric bill a little but a lot less worry.

    We have had chickens for about as long as you have. I know we have learned a LOT and I expect that as each situation occurs it will get easier. I know personally that I need to learn to either cull or find someone who can do it for me. I struggled way too long and paid way too much to have one of our girls put down.

    Relax! What will be will be. It sounds like you are being a very good chicken mom, don't forget to enjoy their fuzzy little faces.

    PS I'm sorry about Annie Oakley. That is sad. But seriously, I mean this for her sake and yours, I'm glad it was fast.
  4. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan

    It can be rough. This is probably why most people don't want to mess with raising their own chickens anymore.

    I've been fighting scaly leg mites on my laying flock for awhile now so I can sympathize.
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:*Please DO NOT sell/rehome your sick roosters. Don't spread the illness to someone else's flock!!!!! Cull them and throw the bodies away, or process them for pet (dog) food or something, don't spread the sickness around!

    *Vets don't know everything. Blue Kote is not "nasty" the only thing that would make me think it could be "harsh" is the alcohol content, and really MOST non-human medicines are that way coz it helps them dry faster on a non-cooperative animal. Blue Kote does kill fungus, and it won't hurt the roo, so I don't see anything wrong there, although I probably would have checked it out closer to see if it was just yogurt.

    *If you decide to heat your coop, be aware that your birds will become LESS cold-hardy and if the electricity EVER goes out during the winter, your birds will be in a heap of trouble. Fully feathered chickens do quite well during most winter temperatures, if they can get out of the wind. It seems to be the wind, not the temps, that gives them the most trouble.

    It seems to me, the more you mess with and medicate your birds, the less healthy they seem. I dunno, I've only had chickens a little over a year, but that's how it seems to me. Mine were most healthy when they could free range on my yard every day and I didn't have to do much of anything for them, just put out feed and clean water. They aren't "sick" now that they live in a pen, but they seem less vibrant looking. [​IMG]

  6. mulewagon

    mulewagon Songster

    Nov 13, 2010
    TeamChaos, I know how you feel! Every time I read about icky chicken diseases, I freak out and clean something and throw DE around.

    It's not muddy here yet, but damp, and the end of my coop smells mildewy no matter how much dirt I shovel out. And the chickens got bored with their winter diet and ate all the little privet bushes in their pen, which are supposed to be poisonous. And somebody decided she hates clean nestboxes, and wants to lay on the nasty dirt floor way under the roost where I can't reach.

    Winter! Bleh!
  7. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Songster

    Quote:I have a great solution to the 'egg out of reach' problem: I bought several sets of 'gopher grabbers', which are a long metal tube with a trigger handle on one end and a pair of soft rubber cups on the other that close when you squeeze the trigger, perfect to pick up eggs with. I use mine every day. I couldn't find the site where I bought them again [​IMG] but if you google 'gopher grabbers' you'll see what I mean.

    The wheezy sneezy chickens will keep getting everyone else sick if their problem is not cured. Even then, they may be carriers and will infect others.
    Don't sell/rehome them. It will only make someone else feel just as you do today.

    edited cuz I hav no spelin scilz [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  8. Carolyn

    Carolyn Songster

    Apr 6, 2008
    There are heights of joy and low valleys in raising chickens. Any time I loose one I feel really bad for awhile as well as angry if it is a predator.
    They are safer locked up and seem like they enjoy it more and are healthier when you free range.

    I don't know what you have done about the wheezy, sneezy ones. Several years ago I bought 2 hens, put them up a few days but not far enough that a resp infection could not be spread. They seemed perfectly healthy until about 3 days after I got them. My whole flock got sick. I fed them yogurt and scrambled eggs and put apple cider vinegar in their water. I didn't know what medicine to get so I decided it would just have to run it's course. I lost those 2 hens and one of the hens I already had. My roo looked awful but made it just fine. My little black australorp who was fairly low in the pecking order but less affected by the illness sat by him and let him lean his head on her. (She really came up in society with the seat next to him on the roost thereafter.)

    Of course then I worried they had something awful that might mean I could never have new chickens with out them getting sick....several years ago and I haven't had a sick chick since.

    Do not rehome your roos. If any are still well, separate them from the sick ones but probably the harm is already done. Culling depends on how many you have sick and what you personally feel is best. I am glad I didn't cull. Some would recommend you do.

    Rainy weather is always messy and with winter it will just get lots worse. Putting down sand, etc is a very good preventative. I added lots of leaves to my run. Kept the chicks dry and happy and made some great compost by spring. I just kept adding them as needed and have done the same since I put up a net fence and they have more room.

    Hang in there, so it rained today. The sun will come out and when you get thru and still love being a chicken mom.
  9. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    post this in emergencies they might be able to give you some advice.

  10. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Thanks for all the advice and empathy! I was relieved to open the coop door and find everyone alive and ready to start the day! Thanks for the tip on sand, we've actually got quite a few galvanized cans of sand in the barn, so I hauled some out and dumped it in the worst spots....
    I wouldn't pass the roos along to spread the disease; is it possible since they were considered 'disposable' by the hatchery that they were just in poor health from day one? I also appreciate the insight on the antibiotics, I've got to learn to be slower on the draw for the 'big guns', i guess.
    I didn't post this in emergencies because no one's life is hanging in the balance and i don't think it could be summed up as a checklist for problems to solve, because as soon as i get through my to-do list, more stuff crops up. So it goes.

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